After the age of, say, 5, chugging a glass of milk isn’t necessarily the most appetizing way to get a healthy dose of calcium. That said, the mineral is hugely important way past your pre-school days.
“Calcium is essential for healthy teeth and bones," says Brigitte Zeitlin, R.D., of BZ Nutrition NY. "And the older we get, the more it plays a role, because it helps to prevent osteoporosis—a disease that can result in bone fractures, breaks, and eventually even surgery." Calcium is super important for muscle function as well (we're talking to you, strength-training queens), and it also helps your body to regulate nerve signals, blood clotting, and even your heartbeat.
So how much of the multitasking mineral do you need? The average adult woman should aim for 1,000 milligrams a day (if you’re pregnant or over 50, bump that up to 1,200 milligrams), ideally from natural sources, says Zeitlin.
Ready to reach your daily quota? These seven calcium-rich foods will provide you with more that 300 milligrams of calcium per serving—a.k.a. more than what’s in that glass of milk:
This article was originally published by our partners at Women's Health.